Canada Adds 953,000 Jobs, Blowing Past Monthly Estimates

Canada’s economy created 952,900 new jobs in June in a flurry of rehiring as lockdown restrictions began to ease.

The gains, which add to the 290,000 jobs created in May, lowered the nation’s unemployment rate to 12.3%, from 13.7% the previous month, Statistics Canada said Friday in Ottawa. Economists expected a 700,000 increase and a jobless rate of 12.1%.

The better-than-expected headline reading may ease concern about how long-lasting the economic damage from the coronavirus lockdowns will be.

“An unambiguously strong print, with good breadth across sectors and regions,” Brett House, deputy chief economist at Bank of Nova Scotia in Toronto, said by email. “Almost all of the gains were in payroll jobs and in the private sector, so the quality of the numbers is high.”

Services-related sectors were responsible for 794,400 of the gains, led by retailers and food businesses.

Canada’s currency was little changed on the report, trading at C$1.3583 against its U.S. counterpart at 9:02 a.m. Toronto time. Two-year government bond yields were also little changed.

As impressive as the the employment jump is, the Canadian economy is still digging itself out of a deep hole. The cumulative two-month gain in employment, at 1.24 million, is still 41% of the 3 million lost jobs in March and April. The jobless rate in May was the highest in almost a century.

The numbers reflect the gradual reopening taking place in Ontario and Quebec. Canada’s two most-populous provinces made up two thirds of June job gains. Ontario, the only province not to post an increase in May, saw an increase of 378,000 positions.

Hours worked rose 9.8% in June, but were still 16% below February levels.

The number of Canadians still employed but whose hours have been significantly cut fell by 823,000 in June. That brings the number of Canadians who either lost their job or worked substantially fewer hours to 3.1 million in June, from about 5.5 million in April.

“While we expect further ground to be recovered in the months ahead, the speed is likely to slow and it could turn out to be a bumpy ride along the way,” Royce Mendes, an economist at CIBC World Markets, said in a report to investors.

— With assistance by Erik Hertzberg

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